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Total ignoramous needs advice

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I prefer not to use a keep net, but that is my choice, and while I agree with Dave that a suitable net, set out properly shouldn't harm the fish, I have two worries.

The ability of the novice to know how to set it and use it, and

The amount of time the fish is so kept.

I can see that for match fishing, a keep net is essential, as it is should you wish to photograph your total catch at the end of the session, but for the casual fisherman/woman I think them an unnecessary piece of equipment.

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I will occasionally use a keep net in the following circumstance


  • So anyone I'm teaching can learn how to use one correctly
  • To retain a fish so pupils can take a closer look and understand the fish without damage to the fish.
  • If I fish a match.

These days I tend not to use a keep net if I can get away with it to avoid going through the rigmarole of disinfecting the net and drying it out thoroughly when I move from water to water. On my home waters in the case of matches, particularly with the younger end, we don't use keep nets but use stitch counters from the local haberdashery and go for the 'number' of fish caught  rather than the weight. Of course you are relying on people's honesty in this case.


The kids that we teach through my syndicate seem to get more enjoyment through 'targeting' a species...actually setting out to catch a particular species and then catching it...rather than a catch all 'a fish is a fish' attitude. I have to admit that I get a real kick out of setting out to catch, say a Tench...tackling up and baiting appropriately and then catching tench. One of my young pupils joined us for a Tench fishing session on our local Warping Drain and hooked a very fine Bream of around 10 to 12 lb. We thought he would be elated, "I'll try again and see if I can do better" said the lad and an hour later was rewarded for his patience with a small 3lb Tench. He was ecstatic with the smaller fish!

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Reading and all that is good, but I really think with fishing you need someone to at lest show you the ropes. Knots are always a good source of pain!!!


Nothing worse than losing tackle/hooks and not catching any fish. 


Cracking offer from Dave as there aren't many "modern" anglers who like to share knowledge or help people any more.


If he decides to try for Pike he really does need to be shown how to unhook them as those teeth add a whole new dimension to it - and make sure you have the right unhooking tools - extra long forceps, pliers and cutters in case you have to snip the trace apart to get it out.


And don't try and "gill" Pike. You will probably injure it at the very least.  An unhooking mat will also be needed if you go for bigger fish. Sounds a lot of gear, but as us anglers know tackle catches more anglers than anglers catch fish :naughty:

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